The New Year is on its way and I am in a Chalet up in the mountains as far away from the fun of bikes and engines as I can be. The snow is falling outside and has been for the past three or four hours and as it builds up the scene outside is getting more and more picture postcard. Luckily I am on holiday, Skiing and have no need to move further than the fridge for a beer or yet another Turkey sandwich. Bikes however are never far from my thoughts, or rather the fun times with the cool mates and the stories that grow bigger in the telling, take this wintery offering for example.
The 350 looked something like this
Once upon a time in a different country two mates were a bit bored. Outside it was a cold winter’s day, -5°c if memory serves me well, but that sort of thing has never stopped a couple of twenty something bikers doing what they want. What we wanted was to go to the “pit” and have a play on our trail bikes. The “pit” was in fact a disused sand quarry and so you can imagine what playtime possibilities existed. So off we went me on an old XT350 and my mate on an old DT250, both excellent if somewhat battered machines.
The 250 looked nothing like this, well it might have
done once in its life I suppose....
The sun was out, the sky was blue and the weather freezing but thanks to the roads being bone dry this was not a problem. A short 6 mile ride had us at the pit and shortly afterwards were pratting about like the big kids we were. We both knew the place well and we had a circuit we would race around and climbs that we tried regularly but almost always failed to make. The place was well known and if you could do those climbs there were bragging rights to be had down the pub, real local hero stuff.
Of course at -5°c it was certain to get cold but being clever boys we had thought of that and soon had gathered together some brush wood and had a lovely fire going to warm us up. Fire is like a magnet to idiots like us and soon we were doing jumps over the flames thanks to a makeshift ramp. I know what you lot are thinking, but no, sorry, there was no falling off into the fire or setting light to the bikes or any of those things you are thinking which in itself is quite remarkable.
The pit was almost exactly not like this
After a couple of hours pratting about the evening was drawing in and it was time to call it a day. The fire was dying down and obviously I soon found myself standing in the middle of it telling the story of another mutual friend who had stood in a fire telling the story of the world record for standing in a fire as his boots melted. My wonderful mate at this moment thought that it would be a great idea to make me jump out of my skin by pretending to throw some petrol from our refill can on the fire. Unfortunately for me the top had not been put on properly and a jet of petrol flew out as he made is all too authentic attempt at scaring me. The petrol soaked my leg and whoosh, went up like, well petrol. My mate was quick thinking and rugby tackled me out of the fire and into a big puddle to put the flames out but seeing as it had been below freezing for a few days all we managed to do was to crack the ice. I got to my feet, still burning and threw myself onto the puddle once more, this time going through it and putting out the flames.
Like this but harder
The six mile ride home, soaking wet, bruised from hitting the ice and a little bit singed seemed to be more like six hundred miles. I was frozen solid, literally, when we arrived and had the really weird experience of taking a hot shower that was both warming on the cold bits and agony on the burnt ones.
Needless to say that story is one that often gets told and retold on a New Year’s Eve, as we share a few whiskeys with those near and dear to us. I wish all of you a coming year full of stories like that, well with perhaps a few less flames and bruises, but I am sure you get the idea.